The P_MRD demonstrator
The SODaH project aims to develop a Photonic Modulator, Routing and Digitalization Unit (P_MRD Unit). This unit will streamline the payload of communication satellites by enabling faster internet, lower latency times, more versatility and cheaper components.
Explore the P_MRD components
The P_MRD Unit as envisioned by the SODaH project combines the assets of the project consortium partners in an innovative way, as laid out below.
Please explore the proposed model of the P_MRD Unit and learn about the various components by clicking on them.
LOW NOISE AMPLIFIER
The Low Noise Amplifier (LNA) will be based on current DAS developments, used in space-qualified assemblies and currently flying in HISPASAT AMZ5 and 30W-6. The fabricated LNA and its constituent photonic components (pump laser, doped fiber, isolators, taps, couplers, etc.), as well as the control and biasing electronics have successfully passed vibration, radiation and shock test campaigns. The current design will be adapted to the requirements imposed by the SODaH scenario and thanks to the environmental and performance tests at component and module level, the LNA unit will be Technology Readiness Level or TRL 5.
The multiplexer/demultiplexer (MUX/DEMUX) will leverage DAS heritage, as well as developments in the frame of the H2020 OPTIMA Project. The MUX/DEMUX unit is completely passive and its constituent photonic components have already successfully passed vibration, radiation and shock test campaigns. The current design will be adapted to the requirements imposed by the SODaH scenario (wavelength and interfaces, mainly) and thanks to the environmental and performance tests at component and module level, the MUX/DEMUX units will be Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5.
PHOTONIC SWITCH MATRIX
The key component for routing data traffic is the photonic switch matrix. This building block of the SODaH project will be based on the Piezo actuator based technology named DirectLight® that has made Polatis the leading supplier of switch matrices for terrestrial communication.
The principle of the photonic switch matrix is to route the light from any input port to any output port via free space beams by orienting collimating lenses at the extremity of their fibers. The orientation of the lenses is controlled by 2D piezoelectric actuators that move the fibers. A modular building block consisting of 12 of these ports (called a ‘slice’) is used to create a larger switch matrix (up to 384×384 connections). This will enable reaching less than 2 dB insertion loss on the routed signal with a technology not sensitive to power, wavelength and modulation.
3 key elements of DirectLight® technology
- The modular 12-port fiber-based component enabling scalable design from 4×4 to 384×384 ports.
- The advanced driving electronics that perform the control loop of each slice optical fiber direction, ensuring a low insertion loss (typically 1 dB).
- The mechanical structure enabling the switch to sustain severe mechanical and thermal environment.
A head start for Photonic Switch
During a previous H2020 project named OPTIMA, Sodern and Polatis have already addressed the qualification of the “12-port slices” switch modular building block with regard to space environment and space manufacturing processes.
The SODaH project will focus on maturing the photonic switch electronic controller to TRL 5, by using commercial off-the-shelf electronic components via radiation evaluation campaigns. These advancements are essential to develop a switch with top level performances, low SWaP (Size, Weight and Power), and high reliability.
Besides, in order to address the constellation market, a design-to-cost-and-manufacturing approach will be implemented to obtain a competitive product, which can be produced in large quantity. To showcase these achievements, a 48-port demonstrator will be designed, manufactured and tested in a thermal vacuum environment.
The Modulation section used in SODaH can be based either on the use of external modulators, or on direct modulating lasers/transceivers. DAS Photonics has previously used these components for the manufacturing of local oscillator generation units, broadband frequency converters and analogue RF links. Several equipment elements have passed qualification tests. Bias control EEE, driver electronics and surrounding photonic components will be selected to meet requirements imposed by the SODaH scenario, and the delivered units will be TRL5 after the environmental and functional test campaign.
Receiver units are present in the photonic multi-frequency units delivered by DAS Photonics in various missions. The current design will be adapted to the requirements imposed by the SODaH scenario and thanks to the environmental and performance tests at component and module level, the receiver unit will be TRL5.
The role of the partners
The P_MRD system and architecture will be supplied by communication satellite manufacturer MDA, and co-engineered by space equipment providers DAS and Sodern in order to find a balance between functionality, performance (SWAP) and cost targets.
The photonic equipment will be provided by companies with a combined expertise in terrestrial photonic telecommunication market (Polatis and DAS) and space photonic and optronic equipment (Sodern and DAS).
Finally, the assembly and testing of the P_MRD unit will be done by both a telecom satellite manufacturer (MDA) and an expert in the photonic domain (DAS) in order to cover all the skills necessary to test the hybrid digital/photonic architecture.